Is Mauro Icardi the Answer to Arsenal’s Striker Woes?
Today, if you are an Arsenal fan you awoke to social media abuzz with news that Arsenal are moving in on a “big signing” – twitter’s words not ours. There is no discernable information except during my morning twitter review I found a re-tweet of Wanda Icardi – Mauro Icardi’s wife and agent (or is it agent and wife?).
Now, there is an option to change one’s location on twitter without actually being in that area. It’s quite possible that Wanda is doing just that. Frankly, given her and Mauro’s twitter antics – it’s more than possible. So we are a little skeptical to say the least.
Many people are looking at a move for the 23 with raised eyebrows. Mostly because not many are familiar with the Argentine forward. Additionally those that do know him may not be convinced. Finally, the remaining portion of fans question our interest are likely on the fence about Icardi due to his off-the-field behavior, specifically his affair with Wanda before they were married and while Wanda was still married.
Let’s look at the last point first as it’s the easiest to dispel. We all know that Wenger is a man who prides himself on finding the right players for his “social team building experiment.” He sometimes worries that adding the wrong player may unset the communal balance he is trying to build. However, his aggressive move for Jamie Vardy before the window opened showed (at least to me) that Wenger is willing to go different route this season. Applying the same logic, perhaps a move for Icardi would mean that Wenger sees more of the ability in the player rather than his personality. The move for Vardy was so opposite to how Wenger operates that maybe this is another attempt at that.
As for who the Argentine striker is from Rosario Argentina which also happens to be home town to Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi. As a youth his family uprooted him and moved to the Canary Islands where he was discovered by Barcelona. He joined the Nou Camp youth set-up in 2009 but failed to break through and landed at Sampdoria 3 years later.
His initial spell in Serie A saw the Argentine average a goal every third game. It was such skill that raised eyebrows at the blue and black side of the San Siro. Since his move to Inter he has grown under Roberto Mancini. He has taken that average of a goal every third game and improved it to a goal every other game.
Icardi is definitely a “different” striker than Olivier Giroud. He is quick, powerful and finishes his chances accurately. He can be precise and unforgiving in the clinical nature with which he scores. As we mentioned he is averaging a goal every other game – albeit on a squad that does not create a lot of chances.
Of all his goals it’s important to note that he scored all of them from inside the box last season. Not one was scored from outside the 18. Like his compatriot Gonzalo Higuain, he operates solely between the two center backs and runs the channels in the box. He is never going to be the type that runs at defenders.
The question is that given how we play is he a fit for Arsenal. For a team that sees a lot of it’s opponents congesting the box with so many players he may not find it any easier to score in the Premier League. He needs to get the ball inside the box and while the likes of Mesut Özil, Wilshere, Ramsey and others can oblige, the question is when we are against a side parking the bus, is he really going to unlock teams for us?
As we said he is definitely different than Giroud. He is much more ruthless in the box. But he doesn’t offer the “team intangibles” that you get with Giroud. Head the ball and winning it, knocking it to a teammate aren’t part of Icardi’s game. He is a selfish player and maybe that is something Arsenal need around the opposition goal mouth.
Finally, the kid is 23. He’s not even near his prime and a 5 year deal for him would carry him through the time where he really comes into his own. It could be that with more maturation and time with the right coaches he could develop into the lethal finisher we’ve been craving since Van Persie left.
Still, if we’re honest, it’s likely that the tweet from Wanda and the subsequent noise about Arsenal and Icardi is nothing more than a rouse by Wanda to get her husband a better deal than he currently has now. Of course Arsenal could offer him way more and still have him come out on the positive after taxes – comparative to what Inter could offer. But it does seem all very spurious since if you consider the fact that he was linked to Chelsea back in May.
The transfer winder is long and tedious – especially for us Arsenal fans. We suspect more rumors like this. It won’t end any time soon but we do need a striker and from the looks of it, Icardi could be one that would do quite well slotting home a Mesut Özil assist.